“Now it’s time to fix the teacher shortage”
BRITISH Columbia’s public school teachers are experiencing higher stress and workload this year compared with last year and say they’re concerned by significant gaps in meeting students’ needs.
These findings come from the first annual BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) membership survey, which also collected demographic data on members.
Of those surveyed, 81.5% reported experiencing direct impacts from teacher shortages in their schools or districts. Some of the biggest impacts reported were being unable to get their students the supports they need (62.3%), loss of preparation time (41.6%), and not taking personal or sick leave days when they needed them (35.9%).
Compared with the same time last year, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said their overall workload had increased and they are experiencing more stress. About 35.8% said their workload was about the same or less, and 34.4% reported the same or lower stress levels.
While 45% reported good or very good physical health and 37% reported good or very good mental health, roughly 40% reported their physical or mental health was worse than in 2022.
BCTF President Clint Johnston said the findings show a critical need for school districts and the provincial government to introduce meaningful strategies for recruiting and retaining teachers before they burn out.
“Teachers are doing their best to make it work, but without significant staffing increases, the pressures on them are unsustainable. Our public educators believe passionately in providing students with the best education possible and could do so much more with the full support of school districts and the BC government,” he said.
“The BC government has introduced some positive hiring and training strategies for nurses, doctors, and other professions that played pivotal roles during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it’s time to fix the teacher shortage.”